HGTV scours Twin Cities for unique homes to highlight in November

Kevin McCahill

That project you’ve been hiding in your bedroom may be your ticket to TV stardom.

Home & Garden Television is looking for houses with serious style and creativity to feature on a new television show.

The cable station is searching the metro area for unique houses made completely by do-it-yourself work, not professional contractors. Homeowners who have turned parts of their residence into an avant-garde palace have the chance to show it to the world.

Jennifer Lee, resource coordinator for Southeast Como Improvement Association, said there likely could be some creative living spaces in the University area.

“There could be some unusual home projects in the area,” she said. “This doesn’t have to be a homeowner project. It definitely could be people that are renting their space that could be doing something creative.”

The show is looking to get to the “heart of creativity,” according to show producer Armando Carranza.

He has already met with people who have built roller coasters in their backyards and a man who built a pub in his basement, he said. There was even a shed designed in a postmodern style.

“It looked like something Frank Gehry would have created,” he said.

Weller/Grossman, the production company working on the show for HGTV, already has visited Denver, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Chicago and Austin, Texas. Thus far, no one in the University area has applied to the show, Carranza said.

“We’ve hit a lot of the local arts communities in the areas we’ve gone to,” he said. “They tend to do something in their home. It’s an extension for what they can as far as art is concerned.”

Molly Bierbaum, a senior interior design student who works in designer retail, said she stresses the importance of individuality and thinks there may be some homes in the area that fit the bill for the show.

She said most houses she’s visited have their own style.

“Creating something that stands out is creating something that you love and that stands out for you,” she said. “Who cares what everybody else thinks?”

Along with a creative design, there are multiple aspects to creating a good story. The designers themselves need to be engaging, Carranza said. Producers will also look for neighbors or friends who can talk about the ventures.

Carranza is looking for the do-it-yourself aesthetic in hopes it will spread to others.

“Viewers will say, Maybe I want to do it in my home,” he said.

“From what I’ve discovered, a lot of younger people tend to do it themselves because it brings them back to something real,” Carranza said.

Buzz about the show has spread by word of mouth through neighborhood associations. The production company has talked with residents of Uptown and St. Paul.

Carranza said he hopes the show will reach out to more viewers.

“We want to reach (a) wider demographic,” he said. “We want to reach people who are younger.”

Producers will be in the Twin Cities in late October, and the show will begin airing in November. Interested do-it-yourself artists can send an e-mail with pictures to acarran [email protected]